Stephanie  Campbell
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God’s heart was the first to break.

On Friday evening joy, excitement, laughter, and adrenaline for the upcoming competition filled a bus, and suddenly turned into fear, pain, and heartache. God’s heart was the first to break.

As our souls cry out in shock, grief, and heartache, as we are overwhelmed by the devastation, again and again, we are assured that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. When no words will suffice, when our prayers are the tears and stunned silences, we know these too are holy. We weep with those who are grieving, and lift prayers of lament with all those whose souls cry out.

Here as we ache, as shock turns to pain, God finds us. In every phone call offered, every card sent, every cookie baked, and blanket brought. In every dollar donated to the families affected, and every person lining up to donate blood. In food, prayers, hugs and silence together. As candles are lit. God is known in these communities.

God is known in the hours of sleep given up by first responders, working tirelessly through their own shock, horror, and grief, a burden they bear for all of us. God is known in the nurses and doctors who continue to work tirelessly. And we offer our prayers to all, thanks for their help and our promise to be there whenever and however they need us.

We lift prayers for those healing from injuries, knowing they will need support and care. And for the families facing their worst nightmare - we grieve with them.

Here in Saskatchewan where community is known in the hockey rink, we take strength in God who is always present in community for the long walk ahead. And we will make it together. One step at a time we will walk together taking turns sharing one another’s burdens. In all our communities, large and small, let us stand united in love. As we offer care and compassion to all those affected, let our love lead us. Now, and in the difficult days to come, we are all one team. And may the strength, courage, and peace of our God, Source of us all, be with you this day and forever more.

Rev. Krystal Sheremeta
President, Saskatchewan Conference,
The United Church of Canada